Publications


Alignment and scaling of large-scale fluctuations in the solar wind

ArXiv (2012)

RT Wicks, A Mallet, TS Horbury, CHK Chen, AA Schekochihin, JJ Mitchell

We investigate the dependence of solar wind fluctuations measured by the Wind spacecraft on scale and on the degree of alignment between oppositely directed Elsasser fields. This alignment controls the strength of the non-linear interactions and, therefore, the turbulence. We find that at scales larger than the outer scale of the turbulence the Elsasser fluctuations become on average more anti-aligned as the outer scale is approached from above. Conditioning structure functions using the alignment angle reveals turbulent scaling of unaligned fluctuations at scales previously believed to lie outside the turbulent cascade in the `1/f range'. We argue that the 1/f range contains a mixture of non-interacting anti-aligned population of Alfv\'{e}n waves and magnetic force-free structures plus a subdominant population of unaligned cascading turbulent fluctuations.


Multiscale Gyrokinetics for Rotating Tokamak Plasmas: Fluctuations, Transport and Energy Flows

ArXiv (2012)

IG Abel, GG Plunk, E Wang, M Barnes, SC Cowley, W Dorland, AA Schekochihin

This paper presents a complete theoretical framework for plasma turbulence and transport in tokamak plasmas. The fundamental scale separations present in plasma turbulence are codified as an asymptotic expansion in the ratio of the gyroradius to the equilibrium scale length. Proceeding order-by-order in this expansion, a framework for plasma turbulence is developed. It comprises an instantaneous equilibrium, the fluctuations driven by gradients in the equilibrium quantities, and the transport-timescale evolution of mean profiles of these quantities driven by the fluctuations. The equilibrium distribution functions are local Maxwellians with each flux surface rotating toroidally as a rigid body. The magnetic equillibrium is obtained from the Grad-Shafranov equation for a rotating plasma and the slow (resistive) evolution of the magnetic field is given by an evolution equation for the safety factor q. Large-scale deviations of the distribution function from a Maxwellian are given by neoclassical theory. The fluctuations are determined by the high-flow gyrokinetic equation, from which we derive the governing principle for gyrokinetic turbulence in tokamaks: the conservation and local cascade of free energy. Transport equations for the evolution of the mean density, temperature and flow velocity profiles are derived. These transport equations show how the neoclassical corrections and the fluctuations act back upon the mean profiles through fluxes and heating. The energy and entropy conservation laws for the mean profiles are derived. Total energy is conserved and there is no net turbulent heating. Entropy is produced by the action of fluxes flattening gradients, Ohmic heating, and the equilibration of mean temperatures. Finally, this framework is condensed, in the low-Mach-number limit, to a concise set of equations suitable for numerical implementation.


EIDOSCOPE: Particle acceleration at plasma boundaries

Experimental Astronomy 33 (2012) 491-527

A Vaivads, G Andersson, SD Bale, CM Cully, J de Keyser, M Fujimoto, S Grahn, S Haaland, H Ji, YV Khotyaintsev, A Lazarian, B Lavraud, IR Mann, R Nakamura, TKM Nakamura, Y Narita, A Retinò, F Sahraoui, A Schekochihin, SJ Schwartz, I Shinohara, L Sorriso-Valvo

We describe the mission concept of how ESA can make a major contribution to the Japanese Canadian multi-spacecraft mission SCOPE by adding one cost-effective spacecraft EIDO (Electron and Ion Dynamics Observatory), which has a comprehensive and optimized plasma payload to address the physics of particle acceleration. The combined mission EIDOSCOPE will distinguish amongst and quantify the governing processes of particle acceleration at several important plasma boundaries and their associated boundary layers: collisionless shocks, plasma jet fronts, thin current sheets and turbulent boundary layers. Particle acceleration and associated cross-scale coupling is one of the key outstanding topics to be addressed in the Plasma Universe. The very important science questions that only the combined EIDOSCOPE mission will be able to tackle are: 1) Quantitatively, what are the processes and efficiencies with which both electrons and ions are selectively injected and subsequently accelerated by collisionless shocks? 2) How does small-scale electron and ion acceleration at jet fronts due to kinetic processes couple simultaneously to large scale acceleration due to fluid (MHD) mechanisms? 3) How does multi-scale coupling govern acceleration mechanisms at electron, ion and fluid scales in thin current sheets? 4) How do particle acceleration processes inside turbulent boundary layers depend on turbulence properties at ion/electron scales? EIDO particle instruments are capable of resolving full 3D particle distribution functions in both thermal and suprathermal regimes and at high enough temporal resolution to resolve the relevant scales even in very dynamic plasma processes. The EIDO spin axis is designed to be sun-pointing, allowing EIDO to carry out the most sensitive electric field measurements ever accomplished in the outer magnetosphere. Combined with a nearby SCOPE Far Daughter satellite, EIDO will form a second pair (in addition to SCOPE Mother-Near Daughter) of closely separated satellites that provides the unique capability to measure the 3D electric field with high accuracy and sensitivity. All EIDO instrumentation are state-of-the-art technology with heritage from many recent missions. The EIDOSCOPE orbit will be close to equatorial with apogee 25-30 RE and perigee 8-10 RE. In the course of one year the orbit will cross all the major plasma boundaries in the outer magnetosphere; bow shock, magnetopause and magnetotail current sheets, jet fronts and turbulent boundary layers. EIDO offers excellent cost/benefits for ESA, as for only a fraction of an M-class mission cost ESA can become an integral part of a major multi-agency L-class level mission that addresses outstanding science questions for the benefit of the European science community. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Angular momentum transfer to a Milky Way disk at high redshift

ArXiv (2012)

H Tillson, J Devriendt, A Slyz, L Miller, C Pichon

An Adaptive Mesh Refinement cosmological resimulation is analyzed in order to test whether filamentary flows of cold gas are responsible for the build-up of angular momentum within a Milky Way like disk at z>=3. A set of algorithms is presented that takes advantage of the high spatial resolution of the simulation (12 pc) to identify: (i) the central gas disk and its plane of orientation; (ii) the complex individual filament trajectories that connect to the disk, and; (iii) the infalling satellites. The results show that two filaments at z>5.5, which later merge to form a single filament at z<4, drive the angular momentum and mass budget of the disk throughout its evolution, whereas luminous satellite mergers make negligible fractional contributions. Combined with the ubiquitous presence of such filaments in all large-scale cosmological simulations that include hydrodynamics, these findings provide strong quantitative evidence that the growth of thin disks in haloes with masses below 10^{12} M_{sun}, which host the vast majority of galaxies, is supported via inflowing streams of cold gas at intermediate and high redshifts.


Lyman-alpha emission properties of simulated galaxies: interstellar medium structure and inclination effects

ArXiv (2012)

A Verhamme, Y Dubois, J Blaizot, T Garel, R Bacon, J Devriendt, B Guiderdoni, A Slyz

[abridged] Aims. The aim of this paper is to assess the impact of the interstellar medium (ISM) physics on Lyman-alpha (Lya) radiation transfer and to quantify how galaxy orientation with respect to the line of sight alters observational signatures. Methods. We compare the results of Lya radiation transfer calculations through the ISM of a couple of idealized galaxy simulations with different ISM models. Results. First, the small-scale structuration of the ISM plays a determinant role in shaping a galaxys Lya properties.The artificially warm, and hence smooth, ISM of G1 yields an escape fraction of 50 percent at the Lya line center, and produces symmetrical double-peak profiles. On the contrary, in G2, most young stars are embedded in thick star-forming clouds, and the result is a 10 times lower escape fraction. G2 also displays a stronger outflowing velocity field, which favors the escape of red-shifted photons, resulting in an asymmetric Lya line. Second, the Lya properties of G2 strongly depend on the inclination at which it is observed: From edge-on to face-on, the line goes from a double-peak profile with an equivalent width of -5 Angstrom to a 15 times more luminous red-shifted asymmetric line with EW 90 Angstrom. Conclusions. Lya radiation transfer calculations can only lead to realistic properties in simulations where galaxies are resolved into giant molecular clouds, putting these calculations out of reach of current large scale cosmological simulations. Finally, we find inclination effects to be much stronger for Lya photons than for continuum radiation. This could potentially introduce severe biases in the selection function of narrow-band Lya emitter surveys, which could indeed miss a significant fraction of the high-z galaxy population.


The radius of baryonic collapse in disc galaxy formation

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 424 (2012) 502-507

SA Kassin, J Devriendt, SM Fall, RS de Jong, B Allgood, JR Primack

In the standard picture of disc galaxy formation, baryons and dark matter receive the same tidal torques, and therefore approximately the same initial specific angular momentum. However, observations indicate that disc galaxies typically have only about half as much specific angular momentum as their dark matter haloes. We argue this does not necessarily imply that baryons lose this much specific angular momentum as they form galaxies. It may instead indicate that galaxies are most directly related to the inner regions of their host haloes, as may be expected in a scenario where baryons in the inner parts of haloes collapse first. A limiting case is examined under the idealized assumption of perfect angular momentum conservation. Namely, we determine the density contrast Δ, with respect to the critical density of the Universe, by which dark matter haloes need to be defined in order to have the same average specific angular momentum as the galaxies they host. Under the assumption that galaxies are related to haloes via their characteristic rotation velocities, the necessary Δ is ∼600. This Δ corresponds to an average halo radius and mass which are ∼60per cent and ∼75per cent, respectively, of the virial values (i.e. for Δ= 200). We refer to this radius as the radius of baryonic collapse R BC, since if specific angular momentum is conserved perfectly, baryons would come from within it. It is not likely a simple step function due to the complex gastrophysics involved; therefore, we regard it as an effective radius. In summary, the difference between the predicted initial and the observed final specific angular momentum of galaxies, which is conventionally attributed solely to angular momentum loss, can more naturally be explained by a preference for collapse of baryons within R BC, with possibly some later angular momentum transfer. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.


Diffusive shock acceleration and magnetic field amplification

Space Science Reviews 173 (2012) 491-519

KM Schure, AR Bell, L O'C Drury, AM Bykov

Diffusive shock acceleration is the theory of particle acceleration through multiple shock crossings. In order for this process to proceed at a rate that can be reconciled with observations of high-energy electrons in the vicinity of the shock, and for cosmic rays protons to be accelerated to energies up to observed galactic values, significant magnetic field amplification is required. In this review we will discuss various theories on how magnetic field amplification can proceed in the presence of a cosmic ray population. On both short and long length scales, cosmic ray streaming can induce instabilities that act to amplify the magnetic field. Developments in this area that have occurred over the past decade are the main focus of this paper. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Constraining stellar assembly and active galactic nucleus feedback at the peak epoch of star formation

MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 425 (2012) L96-L100

T Kimm, S Kaviraj, JEG Devriendt, SH Cohen, RA Windhorst, Y Dubois, A Slyz, NP Hathi, RRE Jr, RW O'Connell, MA Dopita, J Silk


Feeding compact bulges and supermassive black holes with low angular momentum cosmic gas at high redshift

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 423 (2012) 3616-3630

Y Dubois, C Pichon, M Haehnelt, T Kimm, A Slyz, J Devriendt, D Pogosyan

We use cosmological hydrodynamical simulations to show that a significant fraction of the gas in high redshift rare massive haloes falls nearly radially to their very centre on extremely short time-scales. This process results in the formation of very compact bulges with specific angular momentum a factor of 5-30 smaller than the average angular momentum of the baryons in the whole halo. Such low angular momentum originates from both segregation and effective cancellation when the gas flows to the centre of the halo along well-defined cold filamentary streams. These filaments penetrate deep inside the halo and connect to the bulge from multiple rapidly changing directions. Structures falling in along the filaments (satellite galaxies) or formed by gravitational instabilities triggered by the inflow (star clusters) further reduce the angular momentum of the gas in the bulge. Finally, the fraction of gas radially falling to the centre appears to increase with the mass of the halo; we argue that this is most likely due to an enhanced cancellation of angular momentum in rarer haloes which are fed by more isotropically distributed cold streams. Such an increasingly efficient funnelling of low angular momentum gas to the centre of very massive haloes at high redshift may account for the rapid pace at which the most massive supermassive black holes grow to reach observed masses around 10 9M ⊙ at an epoch when the Universe is barely 1 Gyr old. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.


Constraining stellar assembly and AGN feedback at the peak epoch of star formation

ArXiv (2012)

T Kimm, S Kaviraj, J Devriendt, S Cohen, R Windhorst, Y Dubois, A Slyz, N Hathi, RR Jr, R O'Connell, M Dopita, J Silk

We study stellar assembly and feedback from active galactic nuclei (AGN) around the epoch of peak star formation (1<z<2), by comparing hydrodynamic simulations to rest-frame UV-optical galaxy colours from the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) Early-Release Science (ERS) Programme. Our Adaptive Mesh Refinement simulations include metal-dependent radiative cooling, star formation, kinetic outflows due to supernova explosions, and feedback from supermassive black holes. Our model assumes that when gas accretes onto black holes, a fraction of the energy is used to form either thermal winds or sub-relativistic momentum-imparting collimated jets, depending on the accretion rate. We find that the predicted rest-frame UV-optical colours of galaxies in the model that includes AGN feedback is in broad agreement with the observed colours of the WFC3 ERS sample at 1<z<2. The predicted number of massive galaxies also matches well with observations in this redshift range. However, the massive galaxies are predicted to show higher levels of residual star formation activity than the observational estimates, suggesting the need for further suppression of star formation without significantly altering the stellar mass function. We discuss possible improvements, involving faster stellar assembly through enhanced star formation during galaxy mergers while star formation at the peak epoch is still modulated by the AGN feedback.


Generation of scaled protogalactic seed magnetic fields in laser-produced shock waves.

Nature 481 (2012) 480-483

G Gregori, A Ravasio, CD Murphy, K Schaar, A Baird, AR Bell, A Benuzzi-Mounaix, R Bingham, C Constantin, RP Drake, M Edwards, ET Everson, CD Gregory, Y Kuramitsu, W Lau, J Mithen, C Niemann, HS Park, BA Remington, B Reville, AP Robinson, DD Ryutov, Y Sakawa, S Yang, NC Woolsey, M Koenig, F Miniati

The standard model for the origin of galactic magnetic fields is through the amplification of seed fields via dynamo or turbulent processes to the level consistent with present observations. Although other mechanisms may also operate, currents from misaligned pressure and temperature gradients (the Biermann battery process) inevitably accompany the formation of galaxies in the absence of a primordial field. Driven by geometrical asymmetries in shocks associated with the collapse of protogalactic structures, the Biermann battery is believed to generate tiny seed fields to a level of about 10(-21) gauss (refs 7, 8). With the advent of high-power laser systems in the past two decades, a new area of research has opened in which, using simple scaling relations, astrophysical environments can effectively be reproduced in the laboratory. Here we report the results of an experiment that produced seed magnetic fields by the Biermann battery effect. We show that these results can be scaled to the intergalactic medium, where turbulence, acting on timescales of around 700 million years, can amplify the seed fields sufficiently to affect galaxy evolution.


A review of Vlasov-Fokker-Planck numerical modeling of inertial confinement fusion plasma

Journal of Computational Physics 231 (2012) 1051-1079

AGR Thomas, M Tzoufras, APL Robinson, RJ Kingham, CP Ridgers, M Sherlock, AR Bell

The interaction of intense lasers with solid matter generates a hot plasma state that is well described by the Vlasov-Fokker-Planck equation. Accurate and efficient modeling of the physics in these scenarios is highly pertinent, because it relates to experimental campaigns to produce energy by inertial confinement fusion on facilities such as the National Ignition Facility. Calculations involving the Vlasov-Fokker-Planck equation are computationally intensive, but are crucial to proper understanding of a wide variety of physical effects and instabilities in inertial fusion plasmas. In this topical review, we will introduce the background physics related to Vlasov-Fokker-Planck simulation, and then proceed to describe results from numerical simulation of inertial fusion plasma in a pedagogical manner by discussing some key numerical algorithm developments that enabled the research to take place. A qualitative comparison of the techniques is also given. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


The Epoch of Disk Settling: z~1 to Now

ArXiv (2012)

SA Kassin, BJ Weiner, SM Faber, JP Gardner, CNA Willmer, AL Coil, MC Cooper, J Devriendt, AA Dutton, P Guhathakurta, DC Koo, AJ Metevier, KG Noeske, JR Primack

We present evidence from a sample of 544 galaxies from the DEEP2 Survey for evolution of the internal kinematics of blue galaxies with stellar masses ranging 8.0 < log M* (M_Sun) < 10.7 over 0.2<z<1.2. DEEP2 provides galaxy spectra and Hubble imaging from which we measure emission-line kinematics and galaxy inclinations, respectively. Our large sample allows us to overcome scatter intrinsic to galaxy properties in order to examine trends in kinematics. We find that at a fixed stellar mass galaxies systematically decrease in disordered motions and increase in rotation velocity and potential well depth with time. Massive galaxies are the most well-ordered at all times examined, with higher rotation velocities and less disordered motions than less massive galaxies. We quantify disordered motions with an integrated gas velocity dispersion corrected for beam smearing (sigma_g). It is unlike the typical pressure-supported velocity dispersion measured for early type galaxies and galaxy bulges. Because both seeing and the width of our spectral slits comprise a significant fraction of the galaxy sizes, sigma_g integrates over velocity gradients on large scales which can correspond to non-ordered gas kinematics. We compile measurements of galaxy kinematics from the literature over 1.2<z<3.8 and do not find any trends with redshift, likely for the most part because these datasets are biased toward the most highly star-forming systems. In summary, over the last ~8 billion years since z=1.2, blue galaxies evolve from disordered to ordered systems as they settle to become the rotation-dominated disk galaxies observed in the Universe today, with the most massive galaxies being the most evolved at any time.


A filamentation instability for streaming cosmic rays

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 419 (2012) 2433-2440

B Reville, AR Bell

We demonstrate that cosmic rays form filamentary structures in the precursors of supernova remnant shocks due to their self-generated magnetic fields. The cosmic ray filamentation results in the growth of a long-wavelength instability, and naturally couples the rapid non-linear amplification on small scales to larger length-scales. Hybrid magnetohydrodynamics-particle simulations are performed to confirm the effect. The resulting large-scale magnetic field may facilitate the scattering of high-energy cosmic rays as required to accelerate protons beyond the knee in the cosmic ray spectrum at supernova remnant shocks. Filamentation far upstream of the shock may also assist in the escape of cosmic rays from the accelerator. © 2011 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2011 RAS.


Connecting the cosmic web to the spin of dark halos: implications for galaxy formation

ArXiv (2012)

S Codis, C Pichon, J Devriendt, A Slyz, D Pogosyan, Y Dubois, T Sousbie

We investigate the alignment of the spin of dark matter halos relative (i) to the surrounding large-scale filamentary structure, and (ii) to the tidal tensor eigenvectors using the Horizon 4pi dark matter simulation which resolves over 43 million dark matter halos at redshift zero. We detect a clear mass transition: the spin of dark matter halos above a critical mass tends to be perpendicular to the closest filament, and aligned with the intermediate axis of the tidal tensor, whereas the spin of low-mass halos is more likely to be aligned with the closest filament. Furthermore, this critical mass of 5 10^12 is redshift-dependent and scales as (1+z)^-2.5. We propose an interpretation of this signal in terms of large-scale cosmic flows. In this picture, most low-mass halos are formed through the winding of flows embedded in misaligned walls; hence they acquire a spin parallel to the axis of the resulting filaments forming at the intersection of these walls. On the other hand, more massive halos are typically the products of later mergers along such filaments, and thus they acquire a spin perpendicular to this direction when their orbital angular momentum is converted into spin. We show that this scenario is consistent with both the measured excess probabilities of alignment w.r.t. the eigen-directions of the tidal tensor, and halo merger histories. On a more qualitative level, it also seems compatible with 3D visualization of the structure of the cosmic web as traced by "smoothed" dark matter simulations or gas tracer particles. Finally, it provides extra support to the disc forming paradigm presented by Pichon et al (2011) as it extends it by characterizing the geometry of secondary infall at high redshift.


Weak Alfvén-wave turbulence revisited.

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys 85 (2012) 036406-

AA Schekochihin, SV Nazarenko, TA Yousef

Weak Alfvénic turbulence in a periodic domain is considered as a mixed state of Alfvén waves interacting with the two-dimensional (2D) condensate. Unlike in standard treatments, no spectral continuity between the two is assumed, and, indeed, none is found. If the 2D modes are not directly forced, k(-2) and k(-1) spectra are found for the Alfvén waves and the 2D modes, respectively, with the latter less energetic than the former. The wave number at which their energies become comparable marks the transition to strong turbulence. For imbalanced energy injection, the spectra are similar, and the Elsasser ratio scales as the ratio of the energy fluxes in the counterpropagating Alfvén waves. If the 2D modes are forced, a 2D inverse cascade dominates the dynamics at the largest scales, but at small enough scales, the same weak and then strong regimes as described above are achieved.


Self-regulated growth of supermassive black holes by a dual jet-heating active galactic nucleus feedback mechanism: Methods, tests and implications for cosmological simulations

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 420 (2012) 2662-2683

Y Dubois, J Devriendt, A Slyz, R Teyssier

We develop a subgrid model for the growth of supermassive black holes (BHs) and their associated active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback in hydrodynamical cosmological simulations. This model transposes previous attempts to describe BH accretion and AGN feedback with the smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) technique to the adaptive mesh refinement framework. It also furthers their development by implementing a new jet-like outflow treatment of the AGN feedback which we combine with the heating mode traditionally used in the SPH approach. Thus, our approach allows one to test the robustness of the conclusions derived from simulating the impact of self-regulated AGN feedback on galaxy formation vis-à-vis the numerical method. Assuming that BHs are created in the early stages of galaxy formation, they grow by mergers and accretion of gas at a Eddington-limited Bondi accretion rate. However this growth is regulated by AGN feedback which we model using two different modes: a quasar-heating mode when accretion rates on to the BHs are comparable to the Eddington rate, and a radio-jet mode at lower accretion rates which not only deposits energy, but also deposits mass and momentum on the grid. In other words, our feedback model deposits energy as a succession of thermal bursts and jet outflows depending on the properties of the gas surrounding the BHs. We assess the plausibility of such a model by comparing our results to observational measurements of the co-evolution of BHs and their host galaxy properties, and check their robustness with respect to numerical resolution. We show that AGN feedback must be a crucial physical ingredient for the formation of massive galaxies as it appears to be able to efficiently prevent the accumulation of and/or expel cold gas out of haloes/galaxies and significantly suppress star formation. Our model predicts that the relationship between BHs and their host galaxy mass evolves as a function of redshift, because of the vigorous accretion of cold material in the early Universe that drives Eddington-limited accretion on to BHs. Quasar activity is also enhanced at high redshift. However, as structures grow in mass and lose their cold material through star formation and efficient BH feedback ejection, the AGN activity in the low-redshift Universe becomes more and more dominated by the radio mode, which powers jets through the hot circumgalactic medium. © 2012 The Authors Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 RAS.


Subcritical fluctuations and suppression of turbulence in differentially rotating gyrokinetic plasmas

PLASMA PHYSICS AND CONTROLLED FUSION 54 (2012) ARTN 055011

AA Schekochihin, EG Highcock, SC Cowley


Zero-Turbulence Manifold in a Toroidal Plasma

ArXiv (2012)

EG Highcock, AA Schekochihin, SC Cowley, M Barnes, FI Parra, CM Roach, W Dorland

Sheared toroidal flows can cause bifurcations to zero-turbulent-transport states in tokamak plasmas. The maximum temperature gradients that can be reached are limited by subcritical turbulence driven by the parallel velocity gradient. Here it is shown that q/\epsilon (magnetic field pitch/inverse aspect ratio) is a critical control parameter for sheared tokamak turbulence. By reducing q/\epsilon, far higher temperature gradients can be achieved without triggering turbulence, in some instances comparable to those found experimentally in transport barriers. The zero-turbulence manifold is mapped out, in the zero-magnetic-shear limit, over the parameter space (\gamma_E, q/\epsilon, R/L_T), where \gamma_E is the perpendicular flow shear and R/L_T is the normalised inverse temperature gradient scale. The extent to which it can be constructed from linear theory is discussed.


Enhancing and inhibiting star formation: High-resolution simulation studies of the impact of cold accretion, mergers and feedback on individual massive galaxies

Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 8 (2012) 13-16

LC Powell, S Khochfar, F Bournaud, D Chapon, R Teyssier, J Devriendt, A Slyz, V Gaibler

The quest for a better understanding of the evolution of massive galaxies can be broadly summarised with 2 questions: how did they build up their large (stellar) masses and what eventually quenched their star formation (SF)? To tackle these questions, we use high-resolution ramses simulations (Teyssier 2002) to study several aspects of the detailed interplay between accretion (mergers and cold flows), SF and feedback in individual galaxies. We examine SF in major mergers; a process crucial to stellar mass assembly. We explore whether the merger-induced, clustered SF is as important a mechanism in average mergers, as it is in extreme systems like the Antennae. We find that interaction-induced turbulence drives up the velocity dispersion, and that there is a correlated rise in SFR in all our simulated mergers as the density pdf evolves to have an excess of very dense gas. Next, we introduce a new study into whether mechanical jet feedback can impact upon the ability of hot gas haloes to provide a supply of fuel for SF during mergers and in their remnants. Finally, we briefly review our recent study, in which we examine the effect of supernova (SN) feedback on galaxies accreting via the previously overlooked cold-mode, by resimulating a stream-fed galaxy at z ~ 9. A far-reaching galactic wind results yet it cannot suppress the cold, filamentary accretion or eject significant mass in order to reduce the SFR, suggesting that SN feedback may not be as effective as is often assumed. © 2013 International Astronomical Union.